82 – Ford Motor Company Pension Fund

Founded in 1950, Ford Motor Company Pension Fund invests two defined benefit retirement plans: one on behalf of Ford’s employees in the US, and another for hourly workers represented by trade union United Autoworkers. Several decades after its formation, the pension started building out a PE programme to increase its returns and reduce the volatility of its portfolio. As of 31 December, its pension plans were underfunded by $300 million, compared with a staggering $6.4 billion a year before, reflecting “higher discount rates and continued strong asset performance”, Ford said in its annual report.

88 – Government Pension Investment Fund

The world’s largest pension fund has, perhaps unsurprisingly, become one of the world’s largest private equity investors. In an annual report published last year, Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund said it had committed up to ¥708.1 billion ($5.31 billion; €4.95 billion) to deploy in the asset class via its gatekeepers and fund of funds managers. As of mid-2021, North America was the largest geographic exposure at 35 percent, followed by China at 22 percent and India at 13 percent.

92 – QIC Limited

Australia’s QIC was founded in 1991 to manage the Queensland Defined Benefit Pension Plan. Since then, it has grown to manage roughly $72.7 billion of assets. Its private capital programme, which was launched in 2005, accounts for 8 percent of this total – a high figure by Australian standards. Speaking to PEI, Stephen Whatmore, head of global private capital at QIC, says: “For our private equity business, about 60 percent or so of our capital is defined benefit plan and other strategy pools, and the remainder is third-party capital… It’s mainly superannuation types: the long-dated pension, superannuation money is perfectly suited for private equity.”

94 – Boeing Company Pension Fund

Best known as the world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing has made its first appearance on the GI 100 this year after the market value of its private equity investment portfolio reached $5.4 billion, an allocation of 8 percent of its AUM. This figure is all the more impressive considering covid-19’s impact on the aviation sector, which left Boeing to spin off its HorizonX Ventures arm in August 2021. The firm has also announced it will transfer the team overseeing its investments to a new venture fund launched by AE Industrial Partners, per Bloomberg.

97 – William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Founded in 1966, the Hewlett Foundation has one of the highest proportions of exposure to private equity among investors in this year’s GI 100. At roughly 36 percent of its portfolio, the foundation is on par with Harvard Management Company and Massachusetts Institute of Technology by percentage, and even has a higher exposure than top-ranked CPP Investments. Private equity is its largest asset class, ahead of public equities, and what it calls “low and intermediate risk assets”. It counts TA Associates, Endless and Axiom Asia Private Capital among its PE managers.